City councillors call out mayor after Surrey police transition feedback is released
SURREY -- For the first time, it’s clear exactly what people in Surrey are saying about the future of policing in their city.
Results of public consultations on getting rid of the RCMP have finally been released, but some city councillors are still calling the entire process a sham.
“We need to stop the process right now," said councillor Brenda Locke. "It has been done in secrecy it doesn't hold water at all."
Locke is extremely critical of the transition from RCMP to a municipal police force, mayor Doug McCallum’s most high-profile project.
“This police transition is predicated on a lie," Locke said. "The lie is that Surrey residents – open-armed, whole-heartedly – want to switch from the RCMP. In fact, they do not,"
Back in June, the mayor’s office said in a news release that 93 per cent of residents – among more than 11,000 surveyed - were keen on a new city police department.
Locke said she pushed for the raw data from the survey for months, but added, “it was cited as being politically sensitive. That is why it wasn't released."
Now, for this first time, more than 600 pages of public feedback have been posted on the city's website.
“Changing brands won’t be a quick fix and will cost substantially more money,” said one resident.
“Consider the cost and the resources. I do not want a Surrey police force,” said another.
“Don't do it. The RCMP is doing a fine job and establishing a municipal police force is a waste of money,” another said.
Former B.C. solicitor general Wally Oppal chairs the committee in charge of overseeing the transition plan.
While he recognizes the controversy, he said it's outside the realm of his role.
“We don't have the authority to go behind the mayor and council to look at the debates, we have to assume that the mayor and council had the authority to make the decision that they made," Oppal said.
As of Friday evening, the mayor had yet to comment on the released feedback.